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MySpace Music: Why it's failing and how it should change

The major labels are reportedly unhappy that MySpace Music isn't making them enough money. It's no surprise to us. We suggest how the service should change in order to succeed

It seems MySpace users are more interested in being emo than spending money on music downloads. According to CNET UK's sister site CNET News.com, MySpace Music -- the social network's paid-for music download service -- ain't coughing up the dollars the music execs demand.

Apparently "several key players are not happy" and MySpace Music boss man Courtney Holt "got an earful" from label representatives at a tense meeting. The majors want more money, and they want better integration of the download service across MySpace.

The problem

That kids on MySpace aren't spending money on downloads shouldn't surprise anyone. The social network is not the vehicle for sales that record executives believe it should be -- a huge user base doesn't equal a huge customer base. Visitors to MySpace go to chat with other users, read band blogs, stream a group's latest single and comment on each other's hairstyles and tattoos. And they don't do all this with a credit card in their hand.

Another issue is that bands point their fans towards iTunes when their new songs are released, not MySpace Music.

The fix

MySpace Music offers nothing new. It should be offering exclusive recordings, unreleased live shows and demos as packages to fans, alongside standard album downloads.

Fans don't just want what everyone else can get -- they want mountains of special stuff, and stuff they can't get elsewhere. For MySpace Music to really shine, this is what it needs to be pushing, and it'll need bands themselves to be advertising it -- they're the best mouths for promotions to be heard from. And they need to do it soon.